What Is the Average Salary of a Basketball Player

Strong African american basketball player holding the ball
Elite basketball players can make tens of million dollars every year. (Image: Yobro10/iStock/Getty Images)

Basketball is played all over the world, and the most talented players have the opportunity to earn millions of dollars playing at the highest levels. While the National Basketball Association in the United States may be the most prestigious league in the world, it is not the only league in which basketball players, both men and women, can make a healthy living.

National Basketball Association

The average salary for NBA players varies depending on how many years they have been in the league, averaging out at just over $3 million per year. The minimum salary for a rookie in the 2010-11 season is $473,604, jumping up to $885,120 after three years in the league and $1,352,181 for a 10-year veteran. Elite players make $10 million to $15 million per year, with Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant having the highest salary in 2010-11 at $24,806,250.

Women's National Basketball Association

In the United States, professional women's basketball players make significantly less than men's players. The minimum salary for a WNBA player in 2011 is $35,880, with the maximum $103,500 for a six-year veteran who qualifies for a maximum contract. This makes the average salary for a WNBA player $69,690 for the 2011 season.

European Leagues

The salaries for European men's league basketball players vary greatly on the league, country and situation, as many times players are given cars, houses or gifts in addition to monetary income. The average team salary for a team in Europe is about $17 million, with teams in Greece, Russia, Spain and Italy often having bigger budgets. The highest-paid European players make between $2.8 million to $5.3 million.

Comparisons

Major League Baseball players earn an average of $3,014,572 a year, with top players making $20 million to $25 million a season. National Football Players average less, partially due to the greater number of players per team. The minimum salary in 2009 in the NFL was $295,000, with the top players earning just shy of $27 million per year. The average salary for an NFL player in 2009 was $770,000.

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